Scam protection: Verifying donations end up in the right hands

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The McKinley Fire displaced dozens of people, and online fundraising campaigns have popped up.

But O’Riley Stevenson, the creator, and administrator for the McKinley Fire Updates Facebook page said that he has come across posts asking for assistance that appear to not be all too insincere.

“There are situations where people are just being greedy, trying to take advantage of the situation.”

Stevenson said that some posts had to be removed after the community brought into question their legitimacy.

“You can tell when someone has lost everything and you can also tell when someone was being greedy, asking for hard-earned stuff to be given to them when they really didn’t need it,” he said.

Multiple GoFundMe campaigns have been set up for people who have lost their homes, and the site’s CEO, Rob Solomon, wants to ensure the public that the site hosts valid fundraisers.

“Less than 0.1 percent of all campaign attempts on GoFundMe results in misuse of any kind,” he said.

Rob Solomon said that the site takes precautions against scams, including ensuring that money raised ends up in the correct person's pocket.

"And if for any reason it doesn't or they don't feel good about it, we will make a refund," he said, referring to the GoFundMe Guarantee Policy.

The United Way of Anchorage recommends that people take extra steps to ensure their money is going to who they think it is going to. They recommend contacting the source directly and asking them how they will be spending their money.

They said a good way to ensure that money is spent well, is to donate to verified nonprofits.

“Nonprofits like UW of anchorage have been around a long long time,” he said. “We have shown over and over again that those donations go where they are intended for and we maximize those donations in a good way.”

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